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Information Security And IT Governance Voted As Top Two Technology Initiatives For 2008!

AICPA Top Technology Initiatives

From the April/May 2008 Issue

According to the 19th American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’
Annual Top Technology Initiatives survey, Information Security Management will
be the most important initiative affecting IT strategy, investment and implementation
in business organizations over the next 12 to 18 months. IT Governance is the
second highest priority, reflecting the market’s renewed emphasis on corporate
governance and responsibility.

The AICPA poll was conducted in the Fall of 2007 together with ISACA, the Institute
of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the Information Technology Alliance (ITA). A
group of 1,169 AICPA ITMS members and CPA.CITP credential holders, auditors
and IT executives identified the Top 10 most important technology initiatives
for 2008 as follows:

  1. Information Security Management
  2. IT Governance
  3. Business Continuity Management and Disaster Recovery Planning
  4. Privacy Management
  5. Business Process Improvement, Workflow, and Process Exceptions Alerts
  6. Identity and Access Management
  7. Conforming to Assurance and Compliance Standards
  8. Business Intelligence
  9. Mobile and Remote Computing
  10. Document, Forms, Content and Knowledge Management

While each of these initiatives can have certain impacts – and benefits
– on your organization, Information Security Management ranked #1 again
for the sixth year in a row, demonstrating the real struggle organizations
have with protecting their most sensitive information. Because Information
Security Management encompasses a broad array of topics, the survey asked
respondents to indicate their highest priority within Information Security
Management in the next 12 to 18 months. Respondents indicated that they would
focus on managing access control, which includes the processes of granting
who gets access to which systems and how, identifying what rights users have
to modify data and tracking what individuals do while accessing your systems.

Many sources agree that IT Governance, the second most important technology
initiative in the survey, is critical to help ensure an organization’s
maximal use of IT resources and overall performance. IT Governance is a component
of corporate governance and is established so that key stakeholders, such
as board-level executives, department heads, and other personnel who may have
limited technical experience, can be informed and educated about their IT
technologies and processes so that they can meaningfully participate in the
organization’s key decisions related to IT.

New Debuts and Honorable Mentions
While Information Security Management and IT Governance rated first
and second, two technology initiatives made their debut in the top 10 technology
initiatives — Business Process Improvement, Workflow and Process Exception
Alerts (#5), and Business Intelligence (#8).

According to Wikipedia, “Business
Process Improvement (BPI) is a systematic approach to help any organization
make significant changes in the way it does business.” Within BPI, workflow
identifies specific tasks to be completed, who performs them, in what order
they are performed, and how information supports and monitors those tasks.
Exception Alerts can then be implemented to notify management so they can
make informed decisions to override agreed-upon processes rather than having
them occur without oversight. Business Intelligence is essentially applying
technology to collect, analyze and report an organization’s information
so that its decision makers can be better informed and more strategic in their
decision making.

In addition to the above list, the AICPA also captured the next five technologies
as Honorable Mentions, the technology initiatives that placed #11- #15 in
the final tabulation, which included the following:

  1. Customer Relationship Management
  2. Improved Application and Data Integration
  3. Training and Competency
  4. Web-deployed Applications
  5. Information Portals

To explore this year’s list and gain background information and practical
examples on each initiative, attend the 2008 Top Technology Initiatives Web
seminar to be held in May 2008. To register for this web seminar, the third
in a series of webinars on the 2008 list, gain access to the technology definitions
and learn more information about all the resources, guidance and tools available
to the AICPA IT Section members when considering or implementing some of these
initiatives, visit